Care About Syria? Start Taking Responsibility

If you’re looking at East Aleppo today and wondering what you can do to help, consider supporting Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

And by support, I don’t just mean donation. That does help, sure, but learn about how war is conducted; about how WE conduct war.

Putin and Assad have been scoundrels in East Aleppo, but we’ve given Obama and the military an easy pass every time they’ve bombed hospitals in other countries, killing innocent people. There was no scandal, no outcry.

We don’t really care, do we? Not until the bombs start raining down on those we consider “us.”

In my view, it’s time to become accountable. Accountability starts with ourselves.

You could say “ourselves” in terms of the country and how we conduct war. After all, if we’re bombing hospitals and killing civilians, how do we expect others to conduct war? The moral high ground is decimated, if it ever even existed.

You could say “ourselves” in terms of our political affiliations. If we don’t hold leaders we like to account, can we really expect to hold leaders we dislike to account? Those who vote for them? Again, the moral high ground is gone. Democrats, leftists, and centrists stayed pretty quiet on a president who promised “change” and instead delivered bombings innocent men, women, and children. Children, for god’s sake. This isn’t some conspiracy or rumor, this is what happened. He’s not the first president to do this and it sure doesn’t look like he’ll be the last president. Do we really expect anyone to care when a guy is elected president who we consider to be a liar and a bad character when we defend an administration that kills injured people in hospitals?

Or you could say “ourselves” in terms of yourself, that non-monetary support I referred to earlier. I’m not saying you should yell at people to “wake up!” or referring to yourself as “woke” or start calling other people “sheeple” – in fact please don’t do that – but if you want any variety of a democracy, you should be informed and try your best to ensure others are as well.

This is an indictment on myself, too. I’ve been a bad American, I can recognize that. Things happen and I think “Oh, well that’s terrible.” No more of that for me, though. I won’t be cowed by the voices that sometimes reverberate in my own head telling me it doesn’t matter. It does matter. “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a closed room with a mosquito” is an old proverb I’ve been trying to keep in mind over the last few years. That’s what is now reverberating.

Have you given a shit today, whether about Syria or the presidential election or some other issue? Good, so something positive has come out of this mess we call life. Keep it going.

Read about foreign and domestic affairs inside and outside of the freak show.
Read fiction and nonfiction books that let you see outside of your own head and challenge your beliefs.
Study and observe life.
Watch videos of speakers who have studied and observed life.
Listen to people talk.
Talk to people.
Don’t be afraid to speak up.
Remember that it doesn’t matter if you’re wrong once or twice or three times as long as you’re trying to learn and find the truth.

As Thomas Jefferson wrote in “Notes on Virginia,”Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories. And to render even them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree.”

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